The coming years promise to lead the public closer and closer to the pre-Islamic pagan thought, culture, and beliefs, writes SYED IQBAL ZAHEER.
From the Islamic point of view – in fact, from any other – the present age is a superficial one. It is the age of steep decline. Changes which waited for centuries are now brought up in decades. But, to the minds in decline, the decline is not visible, not felt.
The times are truly superficial. From the knowledge once obtained from the Madaaris and from those who graduated from the Madaaris, and their intellectual downpouring, the source of knowledge shifted to the weekly Halaqaat al-Qur’aniyyah where one dutifully reads and a small group sleepily listened to the repetitive lessons. The arrangement was inadequate. One does not learn much from listening, especially, when the listening is absent-minded. Knowledge requires studies, books, with paper and pencil available in close range.
As times passed by, the Halaqaas were replaced by Internet sources: knowledge through unknown sites, run by unknown experts, of unknown qualifications and unknown piety. The great majority of the Ummah did not have access to the internet sites – good or bad – and those that had access, were, most of the times deflected from useful to the un-useful sites – if not to the corruptible ones. Games were so attractive! They helped spend hours at a stretch.
Then the majority of those who were stuck with the games gradually got tired of them, and tired of the Net altogether. They switched over to the new toy: the mobile phone.
The spiritualists: Ghazali, Rumi, Alf Thani, Waliyullah, have now become like names of the distant galaxies.They were followed by the intellectuals: Haali, Dr. Iqbal, Shibli, Sulayman. Now they seem to belong to another planet. However, it is not the leaders that are gone: it is that the thoughts and ideas that have gone. Their books may be stored in libraries. But libraries are not visited. Nature will feed on them.
Also gone are the languages. Gone are Latin, Greek, Roman, Sanskrit and Hebrew. Ancient Chinese and Japanese have suffered the fate of oblivion. While departing, languages have taken their literature: poetry in the main. Computing language does not employ subtle expressions.
The new generation is educated and trained to use their heads alone: never the hearts. They are trained in science. What in science? Well, only the skin of every subject which will help them earn money. And larger the sums to be earned, the greater ignorance of all but a millionth of that portion of science which deals with a tiny portion of activity. Of necessity, the rest must be ignored.
Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, et. al, are now the latest craze. This five-step decline in interest in Islamic knowledge does not promise to reverse the decline.
The coming years promise to lead the public closer and closer to the pre-Islamic pagan thought, culture, and beliefs. The decline leads inexorably to the golden age: Jahiliyyah.